Local News

Planetarium Helps Hale-Bopp Fans

Posted Updated

CHAPEL HILL — Brighter than a speeding Halley's Comet.More luminous than Deneb and Altair, among the heaven's finest stars.Able to delight everyone at a public gathering -- it's Comet Hale-Bopp.

To help interested amateur astronomers in the Triangle locateand enjoy Hale-Bopp, the UNC's Morehead Planetarium is taking its sky showon the road.

Three free comet viewings are being offered through planetariumauspices at 7:15 p.m. Friday March 28 and on April 4 and 11 at theEbenezer Church Recreation Area at Jordan Lake, off US 64.

Hale-Bopp is best viewed with binoculars or the naked eye, saidplanetarium Director Dr. Lee Shapiro. "Even to the unaided eye, it looksdistinctly fuzzy, and its tail is readily apparent." But telescopes willbe available at Morehead's comet viewing.

Hale-Bopp is 122 million miles from Earth. The comet is about threetimes brighter than Comet Halley was at its brightest point in 1986.

To find Hale-Bopp from late March through April, look to the northwestfrom about 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Seek a secluded area, as free of lights aspossible, with a low northwest evening horizon. If you park your car on arural road, be sure there is a sufficient shoulder to enable you to stopsafely and for other cars to pass.

Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.